Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 28, 2013

The desert in winter: a good place to visit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:57 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Last traces of mesa-top snow melted in early March. La Sal Mountains 35 miles distant will retain their snowy caps into June.

Desert landscapes benefit from having contrast; Utah’s beauty is at its peak in the seasons where red is tempered by something else. In springtime, small flower blossoms accomplish that. Autumn brings golden cottonwoods, lighting riparian zones afire. Winter, however, earns the prize: white snow breaking up vast expanses of sandstone, looking for all the world like a layer of frosting on sedimentary cake.

Winter also reveals easy-to-read clues of wildlife activity. Tracks are far simpler to follow and identify in fresh snow, leaving my mind to imagine what that scurry was all about, or who ate whom, or who lives where.

This winter’s long stretch of bitter cold (continuous weeks below zero — an anomaly for southern Utah) left a new sensation underfoot when I returned. Our soil was broken up and fluffed by frost action, and it felt as if I were walking on sifted flour instead of packed desert sand.

Do consider visiting your national parks in the off season. It has become my favorite time to explore new places.


  1. now that the kids are all grown up…. i can 🙂

    hey! KJ got accepted into the fall semester in Jordan, how cool is that?

    Comment by john — March 28, 2013 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  2. Hopefully, that cold weather knocked back the bark beetles a bit.

    Comment by midsummerman — March 28, 2013 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  3. Hey, lady – that was one heckuva scramble after you set the 10 second shutter delay . . .

    Comment by leroque — March 28, 2013 @ 9:26 am | Reply

    • Silly — it was Mr Chris, being very accommodating. I learned how to use the ‘panorama’ feature on my iPhone when at the Apple shop, and had to try it out!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 28, 2013 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  4. Such a 3-D expanse! Would not it be fabulous to do a fly-through in a small plane???

    Comment by Joann — March 28, 2013 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

    • Everyone says that that is the be-all and end-all. I’m saving my nickels to do so!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 28, 2013 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  5. Reblogged this on relocate2utah.

    Comment by relocate2utah — March 28, 2013 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

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